Corporate report

Memorandum of understanding between Ofsted and DfE: independent schools

How Ofsted and the Department for Education (DfE) will work together to carry out inspections of independent schools.

Applies to England



This memorandum of understanding (MOU) explains how Ofsted and the Department for Education (DfE) will work together to exercise their respective functions in relation to independent schools.

Published 31 January 2014
Last updated 8 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. This annual update clarifies arrangements for commissioning aligned and integrated inspections of independent schools with boarding or residential provision. It also clarifies the processes for handling complaints about independent schools received either by Ofsted or by the DfE, and for referring complaints between the two bodies.

  2. This annual update improves accessibility, clarifies how inspections of non-association independent schools with residential or boarding provision are commissioned, and sets out how concerns and complaints about settings are handled when received by Ofsted or by DfE.

  3. Added new sections on inspecting registered early years provision in independent schools. We have also revised the sections on boarding provision, to reflect Ofsted’s power to inspect this provision without a commission. All other changes are minor and for clarity, or for accuracy and completeness (including updating legislative references).

  4. Updated document published.

  5. First published.